Coun­cil mulling new tech in­vest­ment

Otago Daily Times - - REGIONS - BEN WATERWORTH

THE In­ver­cargill City Coun­cil (ICC) is look­ing at in­vest­ing in new tech­nol­ogy to help process build­ing con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions as it un­der­takes an ex­ter­nal re­view of its build­ing ser­vices.

The tech­nol­ogy would be used to as­sist in pro­cess­ing con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions as well as look­ing at dif­fer­ent soft­ware to en­able elec­tronic lodge­ment of build­ing con­sents in the fu­ture.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Clare Hadley said the ex­ter­nal re­view should iden­tify im­prove­ments when it came to the coun­cil’s ap­proach to pro­cess­ing and in­spec­tions.

It came as the coun­cil con­tin­ued to strug­gle to at­tract and re­tain skilled build­ing con­trol staff, she said.

‘‘Across the coun­try, build­ing in­spec­tors are leav­ing coun­cil em­ploy­ment and be­com­ing con­trac­tors, see­ing the op­por­tu­nity to earn higher in­comes for a pe­riod.’’

Mean­while, ma­jor com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ments have re­sulted in build­ing con­sent val­ues ris­ing 50% in In­ver­car­ gill over the past 12 months.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased by the ICC yesterday, 584 ap­pli­ca­tions were re­ceived be­tween July 1 and Oc­to­ber 31 with a com­bined value of $46,056,403, up from 486 ap­pli­ca­tions with a value of $29,948,165 dur­ing the cor­re­spond­ing pe­riod last year.

ICC build­ing ser­vices man­ager Bren­dan Mon­aghan said the value of the ap­pli­ca­tions for res­i­den­tial build­ing con­sents was in line with pre­vi­ous years, but the to­tal value of ap­pli­ca­tions had been boosted by ma­jor com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ments.

The value of res­i­den­tial con­sents was about $19 mil­lion, while the value of com­mer­cial con­sents was $22 mil­lion, which was ‘‘un­usual’’, Mr Mon­aghan said.

‘‘Usu­ally we see the to­tal value of com­mer­cial build­ing con­sents is about half the value of res­i­den­tial con­sents ap­plied for.’’

The fig­ures also show an in­crease in con­sents for solid fuel heaters, as peo­ple in­stall heat­ing which com­plies with the re­gional air plan.

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